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1942 1-1/2 ton brake replacement
#1368471 Fri Jul 10 2020 07:10 AM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 2
E
Egghead Offline OP
Moderated
I am the lucky owner of a 1942 Big Bolt tow truck "opportunity". Character galore (neighbor kids call it Mater) and can't wait to get it back on the road. I'm a newbie to restoring old trucks and I know, the Big Bolts aren't the best ones to start with, but up here in Alaska we can't be too picky about old vehicles.

There are two things I've told myself I will leave to a professional: brakes and steering. That much steel going down a road uncontrolled will be bad for both sides. Due to the age, I'm wanting to get everything on the brakes replaced or restored.

So after calling around during the winter, I found a shop that would work on the truck. Truck has sat in their yard for two months and they are now telling me they can't find/don't have the time to find the parts. I read through the forum threads and didn't see something of this era/size so if it has already been answered, I'd appreciate notes on where to research.

First question: I'd love to replace the existing master cylinder with a dual master cylinder for extra safety. Anybody have luck with that in a 40's Big Bolt? Where can I look?
Second question is where to find parts? I've read enough threads to hear EBay may be the only answer. Problem is, I'm not really sure what I'm looking for (newbie). I've attached a picture of what the shop had written down so far. Hopefully this looks familiar to someone.
Third question (I'm sure I'll have more): My mechanic said that there is no one up here in Anchorage left who can do resurfacing. Anyone have some recommendations in the Northwest that I can get a quick turnaround on this? Mechanic doesn't want me taking up one of his lifts while he waits for parts.

A potential benefit is that the original owner also had a '46 1-1/2 ton for sale for parts that I also bought at the same time (again, can't be picky and you buy what you see, when you see it). I'm not sure if these will have the same brakes as the '42. Anybody know this? There is the possibility I could have those parts sent out to minimize the time the '42 is up in the air.

Thanks for your current (and future) help!

Attached Files
42 Brakes Parts-Excerpt.jpg (100.56 KB, 105 downloads)
Shop's part list notations
42 Tow Truck.jpg (514.01 KB, 105 downloads)

Common things Alaskans hear when ordering parts:
- I'm sorry, we don't ship "internationally". (Huh?)
- We only ship to the Continental United States. (Um, we're on the continent...)
- OK. So that will be $30. What's the conversion rate for Alaskan dollars? (It's 50%, so only charge me $15.)
- Do you know Sarah Palin? (No.) OMG! Are you on one of those reality shows? (No.)
Re: 1942 1-1/2 ton brake replacement
Egghead #1368491 Fri Jul 10 2020 12:38 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,633
E
Shop Shark
There is a lot of labor involved in doing what you wish, if you have to pay someone to do it for you, $ could get out of control.

Look for brake parts places like NAPA, look for oldest gentleman there, search in old paper catalogues. Dual master will be on your own. Keep looking on here, someone will have done what you are doing.

Ed


'37 GMC T-18 w/ DD 4-53T, RTO-610, 6231 aux., '95 GMC running gear, full disc brakes, power steering, 22.5 wheels and tires.
'47 GMC 1 ton w/ 302, NP-540, 4wd, full width Blazer front axle.
'54 GMC 630 w/ 503 gasser, 5 speed, ex fire truck, shortened WB 4', install 8' bed.
'55 GMC 370 w/270, 420 4 speed, grain, dump bed truck from ND. Works OK.
Re: 1942 1-1/2 ton brake replacement
Egghead #1368503 Fri Jul 10 2020 02:14 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 5,777
3
3B Offline
Master Gabster
Hy Egghead, welcome, please post your trucks serial number so we know for sure what we are talking about. Your picture seems to indicate you have a two ton truck and your front fenders if original to the truck indicate a newer truck than a 1942. The machine work is something only you can check on to see if someone in your area can turn your drums and reline your brake shoes. I don't think the parts will be impossible to find for the stock braking system. As far as the dual master conversion, I would rebuild the brakes in their stock configuration first, then you could look at options knowing the rest of your system is in good shape. Hope that helps.

Re: 1942 1-1/2 ton brake replacement
Egghead #1368505 Fri Jul 10 2020 02:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 791
L
Shop Shark
Your truck will have what are called Huck brakes and will be the same as your parts truck. I would disagree with your statement that you leave the brakes and steering to a professional because you can learn to do this safely on your own. If the shop you chose knew what they were doing they would know all about the brakes when you brought the truck to them, not two months later. I agree that a dual master cylinder is a safer design than the stock master cylinder but I don't think that is a top priority. I have kept all my trucks stock. What you should do, however, is replace most elements of your brake system including lines and hoses. You can reuse the brass junction blocks, if you don't damage them on disassembly. Retain the wheel cylinders and master cylinder and send them to be relined with brass or stainless steel. You may get lucky and find some new old stock (NOS) cylinders on Ebay but relined cylinders are better because they won't corrode and pit. You may be able to find ready made brake lines at Inline Tubing but if you invest in a decent flare tool and use copper-nickle alloy tubing you can make your own. You also need to invest in a set of brake line wrenches. All of this will cost less, including buying the tools than paying a professional. You will get the satisfaction of knowing it is done correctly and safely and your system will more corrosion resistant than when it was new.

Another issue is that you will probably not be able to find new drums. They may, or may not, need to be turned. Brake shoes can be sent out to be relined. After relining they will not be real efficient in stopping your truck until they wear in (several hundred miles of panic stops!) so in the old days they ground the shoes to match an individual drum. It is hard to find a shop that will do that and shipping to the lower forty would make that cost prohibitive, so Hot Rod Lincoln on this site has several times described a procedure to quickly wear in the shoes by using water soluble glue and glue sandpaper onto the drum surfaces (then dismount the drums and soak the sandpaper off).

Hot Rod and others will tell you that Huck brakes are a real pain and that may be true if you are planning a daily driver putting 1500 miles a month on the truck. This brake system requires adjusting the shoes every 1-2K miles, checking brake fluid frequently, etc. If, however, you will be driving it for pleasure and infrequent haulage, then you will be pleased with the performance of your stock brake system.
Kent


1937 Chevy 1/2 ton
1942 Chevy 1/2 ton
1947 Diamond T Model 509
1951 Chevy 1/2 ton
1950 Chevy COE Model 5700 ~ "Barney" ~ And more pix
Re: 1942 1-1/2 ton brake replacement
Egghead #1368714 Sat Jul 11 2020 08:46 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 2
E
Egghead Offline OP
Moderated
Thank you for the quick replies! It will take me some time to get the serial number as I’m out of town for a week. So it may take me some time to actively respond. Looking at the specs for the 42 and 46, the drum and pad dimensions are the same and match what was written down by the mechanic. I’m thinking about taking parts off the 46 and bringing them in to see if they’ll work on the 42 and if they will then have those sent out for lining and refinishing. Any recommendations on where to send in the MC and wheel cylinders for internal lining? That’s a fantastic idea.


Common things Alaskans hear when ordering parts:
- I'm sorry, we don't ship "internationally". (Huh?)
- We only ship to the Continental United States. (Um, we're on the continent...)
- OK. So that will be $30. What's the conversion rate for Alaskan dollars? (It's 50%, so only charge me $15.)
- Do you know Sarah Palin? (No.) OMG! Are you on one of those reality shows? (No.)
Re: 1942 1-1/2 ton brake replacement
Egghead #1368724 Sat Jul 11 2020 10:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 791
L
Shop Shark
I had cylinders relined by a local shop, Phoenix Brake and Clutch. They sent them out somewhere for the work to be done but I don't know where. I have heard that White Post Restorations is a good place for this but I can't speak for them myself. You could probably contact both shops by phone or internet. I am hoping someone can reply with their positive experience about a shop that can help you.


1937 Chevy 1/2 ton
1942 Chevy 1/2 ton
1947 Diamond T Model 509
1951 Chevy 1/2 ton
1950 Chevy COE Model 5700 ~ "Barney" ~ And more pix
Re: 1942 1-1/2 ton brake replacement
Egghead #1368767 Sun Jul 12 2020 04:29 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,649
M
Shop Shark
Brake Cylinder Sleeving...

R K Sleeving (Ron Karp)
Upland, CA

Here's the phone number I have for them from 2016...909-985-8300

They did my MC in 2016...no issues and I believe they were cheaper than White Post.

Mike B smile

Re: 1942 1-1/2 ton brake replacement
Egghead #1368781 Sun Jul 12 2020 12:32 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 2,584
P
Shop Shark
Hi new guy,

Kent's suggestions are right on the mark.

These old trucks are quite simple in design so anyone with moderate mechanical ability should be able to successfully perform most maintenance/rebuild tasks. If your mechanic's mechanical abilities match his spelling/penmanship abilities, I would bet you could do a better job anyway. Given its age, definitely replace ALL of the metal brake lines. The 3 brake hoses are a very common part (I believe that is the correct part number on the invoice), and even many of the wheel cylinders and master cylinder can be sourced new. Resleeving your original master cylinder and wheel cylinders is the best remedy as they will last longer as previously mentioned. Replacement brake drums are non-existent for big trucks so don't have them surfaced unless absolutely necessary. Often a good sanding with a jitterbug sander will do a suitable job of removing accumulated rust. Finding a shop that can reline your shoes may take some searching, but there are still places that do the work. Try to find a place that works on larger trucks as they may provide a lead.

One must hone their parts hunting skills in order to own and work on old relics like these. You can do it!

Good luck, and cool truck!

Paul

Re: 1942 1-1/2 ton brake replacement
Egghead #1368805 Sun Jul 12 2020 04:43 PM
Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 251
T
Shop Shark
Changing brakes and bleeding are easy. I just replaced my front wheel cylinders and master cylinder on my 1940 1.5 ton. I didn’t have my help bleeding it I used a vacuum bleeder I bought on amazon. It was all very easy. These drum
Brakes are very simple.


https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07LFPJQMY?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title

Last edited by Tony292; Sun Jul 12 2020 04:44 PM.
Re: 1942 1-1/2 ton brake replacement
Egghead #1368808 Sun Jul 12 2020 05:13 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 9,031
Master Gabster
What I would do is get a handle on the condition of your drums, first. If your parts truck has the same brakes then that is an advantage. There have been posts on here suggesting that light grooves in the drums are nothing to worry about. The next hardest brake part to buy I think would be the springs. The shoes can be relined and the cylinders rebuilt.


1951 GMC 1 Ton Flatbed -- It is finally on the road and what a great time I have driving it!
1951 1 Ton Completed


My Chevy Master 4 Door is on the Road!
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